Aiming to blunt a regulatory and political backlash as oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, BP PLC has revved up its influence machine, relying on heavy hitters with deep Democratic roots.
BP is one of the biggest spenders on lobbying in the oil and gas industry, which as a whole has spent a total of $625 million since 2004 to represent its interests in Washington. After the Obama administration took office in 2009, BP’s annual spending grew by half, to $16 million.
During the first quarter of 2010, it spent $3.5 million on lobbying, second to ConocoPhillips, according to figures compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Since the April 20 oil rig explosion that started the Gulf spill, BP’s lobbyists and crisis communications experts have helped to shore up congressional opposition to measures punishing oil companies, and moved to position BP as an ally with the government to manage the crisis.
After the spill, the company brought on crisis communicator Hilary Rosen, former Democratic congressional staffer, former chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America, and a current editor-at-large for HuffingtonPost.com. Ms. Rosen heads the Washington-based office of U.K. communications firm the Brunswick Group.
If Hilary Rosen’s name sounds familiar to you gays & lesbians out there — well it should. She lead the “leading gay rights organization” for many years. None other than the Human Rights Campaign!
On January 22, 2003, Rosen announced that she would resign as head of the RIAA at the end of 2003, in order to spend more time with her partner, Elizabeth Birch, and the couple’s twins (a boy and a girl). She began a television commentator career first with CNBC and then with MSNBC. She signed with CNN in April 2008. Rosen and Birch separated in 2006.
On November 30, 2004, Rosen became the interim director for the Human Rights Campaign, a leading GLBT lobbyist organization, following the ouster of Cheryl Jacques. Hilary’s partner, Elizabeth, was the executive director of HRC for eight years prior to Jacques’ assumption of the post. Since May 2005 she’s been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post and a consultant to companies in the media industry such as XM Radio, Viacom and Snocap.
Wow. Rosen sure knows how to work it, huh? She found that Nepotism is the Best Strategy for the HRC. Unreal.
Now answer me this: Since when does taking money from Big Oil constitute a gay rights issue? Just curious!!! Do liberals really have no shame? There are so many “progressives” in the pocket of BP, one might believe abortion was somehow involved with oil exploration.
Despite this history of safety problems, BP has made allies of some Democrats and environmentalists with its support for climate-change legislation, which company lobbyists helped write. It is a key member of the United States Climate Action Partnership, which aims to convince businesses that renewable energy and putting a price on industry emissions of heat-trapping gases can be profitable.
Among BP’s lobbyists is Tony Podesta, who heads the Podesta Group, a lobbying powerhouse founded by Mr. Podesta and his brother, former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, who headed President Barack Obama’s transition team. John Podesta now leads the Center for American Progress, the liberal think tank whose scholars have presented the White House with ideas like forcing BP to devote its first-quarter profits, or some $5 billion, to a fund for Gulf cleanup. It also has criticized potential BP-related conflicts of interest within the government.
Tony Podesta confirmed Podesta Group was working for BP on the Deepwater Horizon issue, but responded by email that “they have asked us not to talk to press.” BP paid the Podesta Group $320,000 a year in 2008 and 2009, and $60,000 this year through March 31, said the Center for Responsive Politics.
… that it is amazing that Obama even knows there is an oil spill from his Corporate ATM.
American Progressives — Where Hypocrisy Doesn’t Cost Much To Buy.